2014 BMW 428i Full Test on Edmunds.com

2014 BMW 428i Full Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (3)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe

(2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 8-speed Automatic)

Four Is the New Three

For almost four decades, the go-to choice for a luxury sport coupe has been the BMW 3 Series. But that's all changed with the introduction of the new 4 Series. The 3 Series soldiers on, delivering high levels of driver engagement and comfort as it always has, but now only in sedan form. The 2014 BMW 4 Series takes up where the 3 Series coupe left off. For the time being, the new 4 Series is available in coupe or convertible body styles. A "four-door coupe" Gran Coupe is even rumored to be in the works.

Compared to the current 3 Series sedan, the 4 Series coupe is marginally wider and longer. More significantly, its roof sits a full 2 inches lower, giving it a more aggressive stance. Combined with the sleek coupe profile, the 4 Series could easily be thought of as a baby 6 Series. To its credit, this beauty isn't just skin-deep, either.

Quicker and Better Handling Than Its Competition
Among the current 4 Series, shoppers can choose from the 428i, which uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque or the more powerful 435i and its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder that ups output to 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. Either can be outfitted with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive and all but the 428i xDrive can also be had with a six-speed manual transmission instead of the standard eight-speed automatic.

2014 BMW 428i

The car you see here is a 2014 BMW 428i that's surprisingly short on convenience options. In addition to its $41,425 price, our Estoril Blue coupe included the M Sport and Dynamic Handling package, as well as upgraded M Sport brakes. All in, it totaled $47,125 — a hefty sum for a car lacking both navigation and a rearview camera. The soon-to-be-replaced and similarly equipped Mercedes-Benz C250 costs $3,090 less and an all-wheel-drive Audi A5 is $5,525 less. Even an identically optioned 3 Series sedan is $1,800 cheaper.

What do you get for the extra expense? Performance. Except for the 3 Series, of course, which is virtually indistinguishable from behind the wheel. In Edmunds' testing, the 2014 BMW 428i dashed from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds (5.1 seconds with one foot of roll out as on a drag strip) and completed the quarter-mile in 13.8 seconds at 98.6 mph, easily outpacing the Mercedes C250 by 1.9 seconds. In all likelihood the Audi splits the difference. In terms of handling, the BMW continues its dominance over the Benz by weaving through the slalom at 67.1 mph and pulling 0.88 g around our skid pad. The C250 trails with 64.4 mph and 0.86 g, respectively.

More important than test numbers, though, is the driving reward on offer here. Weighing in at 3,517 pounds, with a nearly perfect 50.4/49.6 percent distribution front to back, the sleek coupe is an absolute joy to zigzag up twisting mountain passes. Even as it approaches its handling limits, the 428i is poised and confidently anchored to the pavement. Steering is direct and very responsive and the transmission's eight speeds are appropriately spaced to keep power on tap. There's enough power to get the rear tires to break free with a deliberate midcorner whack of the throttle.

The M Sport brake upgrade also proved it was up to the task, with no detectable fade after many hard applications. This was confirmed at the track, where the 428i stopped from 60 mph in a short 110 feet.

A Driving Mode for Every Road
During our blast through the canyons, we preferred the Sport Plus setting which firms up the dampers and sharpens throttle response. We also opted to select gears manually via wheel-mounted paddles. On the other side of the spectrum the Eco Pro mode softens the ride and dulls throttle response. Intended to get better fuel economy, this mode is acceptable in everyday driving, especially in bumper-to-bumper traffic where immediacy is irrelevant.

2014 BMW 428i

The differences between Sport Plus and Eco Pro aren't as disparate as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde comparison, either. It's more like Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Jekyll on Red Bull. We sampled both on our evaluation loop which is mostly highway driving with several miles of entertaining curves in the middle. The 428i achieved 32 mpg on that loop and averaged 25.2 mpg overall during its time with us. These figures are slightly lower than the EPA's estimate of 27 mpg combined (23 city/35 highway), but they still beat its Mercedes and Audi rivals.

Besides the Eco Pro mode, the 428i's fuel economy numbers can also be attributed to the automatic start-stop system that shuts the engine off when stopped. The engine springs back to life when brake pressure is released, though it does delay a quick getaway by a half-second or so. It's easy to anticipate this delay or to bypass it completely by easing off the brake pedal early or disabling the system altogether with a push of a button. In heavy traffic, the air-conditioning would shut off as well, which resulted in an occasional fogging of the windshield.

Between Eco Pro and Sport Plus modes are the Comfort and Sport settings. As expected, these incrementally fill the void. In practice, though, we usually switched between the two extremes, ignoring the intermediaries.

Comfortable but With Typical Coupe Compromises
Inside, the 2014 BMW 428i artfully blends modern luxury with a serious sporty character. With the M Sport package, there's an additional emphasis on the performance component with sport seats and a sport steering wheel. Those seats provide ample lateral support for a variety of body types thanks to adjustable side bolsters. Despite the lack of lumbar adjustments and the use of BMW's synthetic leather coverings, front-seat passengers are assured many hours of comfortable touring without any noticeable fatigue.

2014 BMW 428i

The same cannot be said for the rear-seat passengers, however. The sloping rear roofline cuts into rear headroom and the seat cushions are mounted low to the floor. This makes rear accommodations acceptable only for smaller adults or children. But this issue isn't exclusive to the 428i alone, as rival sport coupes don't fare any better. The 4 Series coupe does have an advantage in terms of cargo capacity, though, with a 15.7-cubic-foot trunk — more than 3 cubic feet larger than the competition.

Anyone who has been in a recent BMW will feel right at home in the new 4 Series. The interior materials maintain the high standard we've become accustomed to and the overall design is pleasingly modern. All controls are thoughtfully placed, as are the simple gauges and main display mounted atop the dash.

Noticeably absent in our test vehicle, however, was the $3,150 Technology package that adds a navigation system and the $1,900 Driver Assistance package that includes a rearview camera. All-around visibility is good enough, however, to not have to rely on a rearview camera when backing into a tight parking space.

The Verdict
BMW's new 4 Series fulfills any expectations demanded of the venerable 3 Series Coupe. Among luxury sport coupes it delivers more in the way of driver engagement and entertainment without sacrificing comfort. Though it's the entry level to the more stirring 435i and forthcoming M4, there's enough potential on tap to please the vast majority of pilots.

While the Audi A5 and Mercedes C-Class are without any glaring faults, the 2014 BMW 428i is the car that we want to drive most. If you still value an engaging driver's car the additional cost is worth it. Among the options in this segment, it's the coupe most likely to have you taking the long way home — regardless of what it's called.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.



  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    It's a shame the interior looks so dull and uninspired. Take the BMW logo off the steering wheel and you'd think that the interior was for a $20k car. And the exterior design, overall, isn't much better. I'm sure it'll sell tons, but that just worsens the situation as these cars will be as common as Civics and Corollas.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @dfelix70: I think that you're confusing an cheap interior with an understated one. The interior on this 4 Series actually looks pretty nice, and I'm sure the materials quality is decent, if nothing particularly special (this is an ENTRY level luxury car

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    @quadricycle, this "understated" interior looks pretty cheap to me. Regardless of material quality, when money is invested in a great design, you can see it. I don't see that here.

  • joefrompa joefrompa Posts:

    The 4-series is a ~$40k car and it's interior has elements that do not live up to that standard. As you option it up, it really doesn't hold up to it's price. But it's definitely not a $20k interior. In regards to Edmunds results on acceleration - surreal. Can't believe a 2.0 liter, very efficient engine in a 3500 pound pig is putting up 13.8 quarter mile times...

  • I can understand all the " These will not be cross shopped" but really... this, or the new Chevy SS for that 47 grand? Puts value in perspective, IMO.

  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    This BMW's interior really cannot be faulted for visual design or quality of materials for the price point. Where BMW does not excel is in the simplicity and intuitiveness of controls, requiring owners to become used to them rather than being naturally functional and easy to live with. The exterior is fine for its purposes, nicely done. The 4-series does have a value problem though, BMW's options packaging and pricing runs the tab up very quickly. Run-flats and lack of a spare tire also is a big negative, especially when they clearly had the space in the rear for at least a space-saver spare. Who wants to drive a modern BMW far from a dealership on a long holiday weekend on those run-flats?

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    @ Quadricycle- though I agree the exterior lines are well proportioned to the vehicle and look great in person. After test driving the 428i myself, I have to side with dfelix70. Though in person you appreciate the detail, it's laden with plenty of plastic

  • marcos9 marcos9 Posts:

    Nice looking ride, but for me, I prefer a manual transmission and AWD. But don't get me wrong, I love the new look of these Bimmers. I saw the M6 Gran Coupe and it was absolutely stunning, even though if I were to spend that kind of cash, the Audi RS7 would be it for me. Keep them coming BMW.

  • mnorm1_ mnorm1_ Posts:

    Nearly $50k, synthetic leather, i.e. vinyl, no navigation system, 4 cylinders not 6, a not so special interior - it's ok but who wants ok at this price. At $30-35k might have interest; at $47k no interest from me.

  • syslog syslog Posts:

    I cross shopped the 4 series, Audi S5 and the Benz C350 4matic coupe (ended up buying the Benz). The Audi smokes both the BMW and the Merc in exterior looks (very subjective, I know). The Merc smokes both the BMW and the Audi in interior. The BMW is well put together but plain, the Audi S5 interior lags the sedans so it is a bit out of date. The Merc is just a very special place to be. It just screams jewel like precision and quality. Combine this with the fact that I got 6 cylinders, the full tech stuff (nav, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring etc etc), 4 wheel drive and the AMG wheels and alcantara interior package for $48k, exactly the same as the plain jane 428i mentioned in this article, the Merc was hard to say no to. I should add that the retail was $53k, but the dealer was willing to deal, while I don't think you will get much flex on the 4 series.

  • joefrompa joefrompa Posts:

    Syslog - Let's add a bit of reasonableness to your post. Your C350 4matic had a $53k MSRP. The dealer was willing to deal because it's a model that is on it's way out with the most dated engine, chassis, and interior of the group. I'm glad you like it, but let's face the fact it's the most aged too. For $53k MSRP, you could have had a 435i coupe with a 300 hp inline six turbo engine. It would have been equipped with the premium, cold weather, and tech package. And, at least at the end of 2013, dealers were willing to let you order one of those for bout $3k off including holiday discounts - and the 4-series just came out too. I don't think EITHER is a great value, but let's put that C350 vs. 4-series story in perspective.

  • 330i_zhp 330i_zhp Posts:

    'A "four-door coupe" Gran Coupe is even rumored to be in the works.' -- Anyone else have issues calling a 'four door' a 'coupe'?

  • linard76_ linard76_ Posts:

    Joefromtampa, The C250 and C350 coupes were introduced in 2012 along with the new interiors and engines from the sedans. The platform has been around since 2008 but your assertion it's the most aged is a bit off. The A4/5 have been around for longer without the same level of updates to the engines or interiors.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @joefrompa, The 435i is priced into the stratosphere if similarly equipped to the C350. That is my main problem with the F30/F32. They simply aren't worth it when you compare them dollar for dollar with their competition. For example, a comparable 435i xD

  • nuieve nuieve Posts:

    The interior is depressing especially considering what MB has shown recently for their upcoming C-class. In fact, base 3/4-series BMW interior, while not 'cheap', is probably the most underwhelming of all the cars in its class. It's definitely way below C-class (even current model), A4-class, IS, Genesis, Q50, ATS...

  • BMW's pricing has gone completely off the deep end. $47k for a stripped 428i with a 4 cylinder? Yeah, yeah, it is a superb 4-cylinder, I know, but still! BMW has gotten mighty high on its own legend lately and have simply priced themselves out of their own league in my humble opinion. This should be the price for the 435i with the 428i coming in around the $42-$44k mark loaded...

  • jeffyb jeffyb Posts:

    This new 428 looks gorgeous, and I am sure it drives really well, but for my past two coupe purchases I have gone with Audi A5 and I am (still) glad I did. A comparably equipped BMW 428 is faster than the A5 -- no doubt. However, BMW nickels & dimes you for every option, and makes you take useless stuff in their packages to get what you really want. I found that process to be frustrating, and I found that the BMW was about $8K more than a comparable AWD A5. The 428 is faster and more agile, but the A5 is still plenty quick and feels more solid than any Bimmer I've driven. Also I've had zero problems with my two A5's whereas my neighbors 528 has been a nightmare and the dealer a pain to deal with. Just for what it's worth...

  • cybercoupe cybercoupe Posts:

    We own a 435i but test drove the 428i originally. Beautiful car but we wouldn't have gone for the 4-cylinder model because it seemed underpowered compared to the 6-cyl and it didn't have the nice growl that you get with the six. Interiors are beautiful, technology packages great (visibility is good even without back-up camera) and it is just an all-round good-looking coupe. We got the M-Sport which makes a difference in looks and performance. It is a fun car on the open road but the several miles to work in the morning are also a pleasure. All cars are overpriced these days so price is a strange argument against buying such an exceptional vehicle.

  • Once all of the new "players" arrive, I think a [massive] comparison test will be in order. I hope that the Edmunds staff will be up to the challenge :-)

  • cbrandi_ cbrandi_ Posts:

    Sorry, but that black interior does look cheap, more suited for a Ford Focus. $47,000 without even a backup camera. Expensive, but there are fools enough to pay for it.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    No spare = no sale to me.

  • I've spent time in both the prior generation and this generation of 3/4 series. There seems to have been an effort to bring more conveniences to the base level (no nav) buyer but it has happened at the cost of some materials quality. Base buyers actually get an info screen, which is very helpful, and there are real cupholders where we expect them to be, in the console as opposed to the limited-size and function pop-out versions of the past. However, you see slightly harder plastics throughout on the doors and dash. I think a base-model or as close as possible to it driver will be happier trading up in years, whereas the buyer of a loaded car might be a little disappointed. Then again, if you're a base engine buyer, as lovely as the old inline six was, this turbo four (the 2.0) just tromps all over it in terms of performance.

  • jbush74 jbush74 Posts:

    @Joefrompa - I bought this car about 3 weeks ago. Yes, the acceleration numbers are hard to believe. But yes, they are accurate. This thing is an absolute rocket-ship. Coming from a Nissan 370z and then an Infiniti M37 (both are nice), I would take th

  • jbush74 jbush74 Posts:

    One more point - The 435. I wish I had a chance to drive this to compare for myself, but on paper I just can't see how it makes sense. The numbers I have seen is you get about 1/2 a second better 0 to 60 performance. That will cost you around 5K and at least 6 mpg, if not more (I'm averaging 29.9 mpg on my first 4 tanks of gas). The economics just don't work there IMO.

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